London maybe known for its historical buildings, international food, high end shopping, and world class entertainment, but do not forget the regional beauty found in many of London’s parks and gardens. Among the urbanized city, lie several beautiful gardens and parks that are perfect for that serene, Sunday stroll.
Kensington Gardens: Originally used by the monks of Westminster Abbey, Kensington Gardens was once banned to the public during the 18 century. Today this park is open to everyone, from formally dressed horse-riders to partially naked sunbathers. Being centrally located in London, the gardens throw many free events, including concerts, workshops, and guided walks. In addition, there are several noteworthy monuments located in Kensington Gardens. The Albert Memorial, Queen Victoria Statue, King William III statue, and the Peter Pan statue, just to name a few. For leisure, Kensington Gardens is the best for sunbathing, horseback riding, and monuments.
A suitable tribute to The People’s Princess, the Memorial Fountain cost £3.6 million to construct. Although it has been under fire for some constructional mess ups such as the granite being very dangerous when wet, in turn, kids have been hurt playing in the fountain. Luckily now, staff are on hand throughout summer to make sure children playing in the water do not injure themselves.
Another monument in Kensington Gardens is a tribute to Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert. It was erected after his death at the age of 42 due to typhoid. The monument lovingly reflects the story of Prince Albert. Designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, the tribute to the Prince was unveiled in 1876. Each pillar took eight men 20 weeks to polish and at the time was considered one of the most expensive works in granite. The statue faces the Royal Albert Hall, another tribute to the Prince and stands as a shimmering, bronze memorial to his public passions and Queen Victoria’s achievements. If you are interested in more, tours take place at 2pm and 3pm on the first Sunday of the month and there is no need to book. Another popular statue in Kensington gardens is Peter Pan. The statue was constructed in memory of J.M. Barrie and the boy who would never grow up, Peter Pan. The original Peter Pan statue is in Kensington Gardens and was sculpted by George Frampton. It was commissioned by Barrie himself and was erected overnight on April 20th, 1912 as a May Day surprise to the children of London. Since then, seven other statues have been cast from the original mould. The statue of Peter in Kensington Gardens still brings faith and trust to children and adults to this day. It must surely not be missed, so take a stroll through Kensington Gardens and you just might be lucky enough to catch Peter before he heads towards the second star on the right and straight on till morning.
Hyde Park: Right next to Kensington Gardens is Hyde Park. The split of these two parks dates back to 1728 when Queen Caroline took 300 acres from Hyde Park to form Kensington Gardens. Now the 350 acres park has become of the most beloved parks in London. With lavish green landscape creates a great space for many leisurely activities. You can see people horseback riding, rounders, frisbee, and even informal cricket games. With the busy activities there are also some famous London monuments in the park. The Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain and the Serpentine Boating Lake, which becomes the centre point of the summer with boating. There are also two great cafes in the park: the Lido Café and the Serpentine Bar and Kitchen.
Holland Park- Tucked away in London, Holland Park is a great location for those who want to get away from the busy life of London and just relax. Considered to be one of the most romantic parks in West London, Holland Park is about 54 acres in total. Holland Park used to be a private estate belonging to the Earl of Holland. The park has small grassy knolls, wild ponds, pavilions, giant chess set, playgrounds, a youth hostel, and a café. The famous Orangery, another hidden gem of London, is a glass and stone palace built for Lord and Lady Holland’s soirees. Now it is used for weddings and other events. There are beautiful woodland trails, a great Kyoto Japanese Garden with Coi and during the summer, open-air operas are performed at the park’s theatre. The lovely park peacocks enjoy roaming around the grounds with the newly add pigs.
The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew- About 30 minutes from central London, The Royal Botanic Gardens is world famous for its glass houses and they have played a crucial role in plant conservation for the planet. Originally built in the Victorian era to accommodate exotic plants brought by English explorers, the botanical gardens houses large palm trees that now reach up to 19 metres. The glass houses also contain 150 metres of planted beds, 250 year old trees and lakes, and a magnificent tree top walkway. The Kew Palace is also something to wander around while you are at the botanic gardens, it was the home of King George III.
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